Saturday 15 December 2018

An Interview With Reno Gooch From SPACE COKE

Space Coke are a new band that I didn’t know much about until I listened to their excellent new album L'appel du Vide. Their blend of trippy Psychedelic Doom and Stoner Metal is very dark and mysterious. The band have included two fantastic covers of The Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs and Stevie Wonder classic Evil. They need to be heard. As Space Coke make these songs their own. 

I caught up with Reno Gooch (Guitars/Vocals) from the band where we discussed the meaning of their name and working with Philip Cope of KYLESA fame when making their new album.

Have a read and listen to the trippy sounds of the mightily weird SPACE COKE….

Hi Reno. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today?

Things are good. I have really been enjoying the buzz and positive responses from our new release. Happy to be here doing this interview with you.

For people not in the know can you give a brief history of how Space Coke came together and what the current line-up is today.

Space Coke started about a decade ago as a few guys jamming on some noise and dissonant, rhythmic music and evolved into a performing band. We began as an improvisational act and have evolved into more structured songwriting. There have been a few line-ups and each had a different sound. The current is myself on guitar and vocals, Jay Matheson on bass, Brandon Johnson on drums and Moses Andrews III on organ.

Where did you get the name Space Coke from. Very cool sounding name.

Thank you! It's from a scene in Cheech and Chong's "Next Movie" If you look for that scene (just search Cheech and Chong Space Coke on YouTube) you will see exactly why it's our name. Many of our shows have the same vibe as that scene. Chong's guitar antics in the whole movie remind me of myself.

How would you describe your own music in your own words. As you play a very warped version of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal which I find very hard to describe.

I have always disliked joining the crowd artistically. My younger self refused lessons and learning other people's music because I felt it would make me sound like other musicians. I grew up listening to old family records and Indian classical music. My Grandfather raised me and is a Hindu from northern India. My other grandfather is Venezuelan. So I didn't listen to the music my American peers did at all.

Many Interviewers look at me through white American classic rock glasses and don't understand the vibe. I was introduced to rock music through my dad's Zappa, Sabbath and Neil Young records. Zappa's perversion of musical norms and way of always improvising guitar solos really resonated with me. I just play what comes out.

You have just released your new album L’appel du Vide. Can you give provide any details on this album. Such as what people can expect from the album, who will release the album and what formats.

It is out on Mystery School Records and is available on their site and our Bandcamp page in CD form. Digitally it's available almost on any streaming site. It will be on cassette as soon as I can get that fulfilled. As far as what one can expect I hope it's a form of heavy music that is new and intriguing. I'm really looking for listener feedback to help direct me towards the follow up.

I love your cover of the classic song Venus In Furs. Why did you include that song on the album and have you been playing that song for a long time. Or was it included just for this album.

We only played it for the album. I wanted to do two covers that helped guide the listener into my mindset. It's such a trippy, droning song with excellent lyrics and subject matter. The originals are heavier and I wanted to round out the dynamics. "Evil" by Stevie Wonder was included because I was reintroduced to it on the series Atlanta's episode "Teddy." I love that episode and the song just fits. Also it's a message to the world we live in.

Was recording the new album a hard or easy experience for the band?

Recording is very easy for me. I love sounds and getting to hear them back. I generally know what I want to do before I record it. Our bassist owning an amazing studio helps a lot though.

You worked with KYLESA’s Philip Cope on the album. What was that experience like and what does Philip bring to Space Coke’s music.

He is such a cool guy to know and understands my stranger paths. Like when I say i want Helios Creed sounds and he understands completely. Phillip tracked the guitar and drums live then Jay Matheson did the rest and the mixing and mastering. I would love to have Phillip more involved in the future, he is very busy.

That process works so well for me. Jay owns the Jam Room studio and Phillip is an engineer there. They have done some amazing records there including Kylesa, Baroness, Black Tusk and Coffin Torture. I am very lucky to have Phil and Jay involved in my efforts. They both bring a lot to the table.

Did Philip provide any helpful words of advice to the band when you were recording the new album.

He pretty much just let us rip. He was helpful in assuring me that what I was doing would work. Laying the foundation for the album with him and his support of our live feel was essential. 

The album cover is awesome. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have into the final design.

Lane Speas at Amplified Design in Boulder, Colorado is my guy. I wanted him to design the whole package. We went back and forth discussing the images a lot. There is a story to it. It's anti colonizer, anti patriarchal and has elements of Hindu astrology and numerology to it. The look and coloring is all Lane. I can't wait to work with him more.

Will you be touring and promoting the new album heavily.

We aren't able to tour much but I plan to. I'd love to go on the road soon. We have only played regionally so far but with some killer acts like Heavy Temple, Weedeater, Mick's Jaguar, Mountain Tamer, R.I.P., 20 Watt Tombstone and Coffin Torture among many others.

What is the song writing dynamic in the band? Is it a group collective or down to certain individuals.

I write the guitar parts then jam with Brandon to get it down rhythmically. After that Jay gets the tracks and writes the bass-lines. Moses is so far beyond all of us that he can just jump right in.

What comes first when writing and recording new music? Music or lyrics.

I write them simultaneously but separately. I then decide which lyrics fit which songs.

What inspires you when writing music?

Well I am obsessed with making noise and sound. I do this because I love sound and rhythm. As far as lyrics it's amazing to be able to make a scene or story abut anything that interests me.

With this year almost drawing to a close, what have been your favourite albums of the year?

A lot of Riding Easy stuff this year has been amazing. Standouts are Monolord, Blackwater Holylight and Spiny Norman. I love Saint Karloff and Shrooms Circle. The Coffin Torture album is so nasty in a good way. So much good shit came out in 2018 it's hard to say. I'm listing heavier stuff but I also like a lot of genres. The list could go on for pages.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go do you have any words of wisdom to say to your fans?

I love how music fans this year have supported diverse smaller acts and have pushed them forward with open minds. Let's keep that going!

Words by Steve Howe and Reno Gooch

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR for arranging this interview. L'appel du Vide is available to buy now.